The University of Victoria Vikes got on the podium three times on the opening day of the U SPORTS Swimming Championship, hosted Feb. 22-25 in Toronto, Ont., thanks to silver medals from second years Danielle Hanus and Josh Zakala. Ranked in the U SPORTS Top 5 in six events, Hanus earned silver in both the 50-m backstroke and 200-m butterfly events, finishing behind 2016 Olympic medalist and World Champion Kylie Masse from Toronto. Zakala wrapped up the individual events of the day by finishing second in the men’s individual medley.
“It was a pretty good day, especially for Danielle and Josh who just came from a training camp,” said Peter Vizsolyi of UVic’s two Day 1m edalists. “Danielle swam all personal best times and broke the Vikes record in the 50-m back in the morning and then broke MacKenzie Downing’s 100-m fly record and her own 50-m back record at night. She also set a UVic record for the 100 free in the lead of tonight’s relay.”
The Vikes’ first medal of the day came when Hanus took home silver in the women’s 50-m backstroke in a Vikes record of 26.85, while Masse set a Canadian record to top the podium in a time of 26.15. Toronto’s Rachel Rode finished third (27.16).
“I think everything went really, really well today and of course there are still some things to work on for later in the season,” said Hanus. “I was really hoping to get some best times today and I ended up doing that. I was just trying to meet some of the expectations and goals my coach set and I’m proud I was able to do that.”
Eric Hedlin finished ninth overall in the morning preliminaries in the 200-m freestyle and finished second in the B Final to claim 10th overall in a time of 1:49.05. Team mate Buzz Mallender was also in the B Final and swam in 1:51.18 to take 13th place overall. Justin Schramm touched in at 1:52.17 and Jon McKay in 1:53.24 in the C Final.
In the 100-m breastroke Vike Kara Wilson finished 14th in the women’s race in 1:11.10, while Daniel Greer was 18th in the men’s race in 1:03.30. Fourth year Kaitlin Gervais was 19th overall in the women’s 200-m freestyle event in a time of 2:03.11.
“Kara dropped 1.1 seconds in her 100-m breaststroke and that was a personal best for her,” highlighted Vizsolyi about the third year. “She almost skipped from 12.2 to 10 and just missed it but that was an incredible swim for her.”
Hanus picked up her second medal of the meet in the women’s 100-m butterfly, an event she entered in as the Canada West champion. Hanus touched in 58.24 behind Masse who set a U SPORTS record in 57.52 for gold.
“It’s a lot of fun racing beside Kylie,” added Hanus on finishing runner-up to Masse in both events today. “I’ve known Kylie from before and she is just so humble and so down to earth. It’s fun racing her because she gives 100 per cent and pushes you to be your best and try to move forward and get best times and swims beside her.”
Ethan Jensen was the lone Vike to compete in the men’s 100-m fly and finished 18th overall in 55.40.
The final individual events of the night were the 400-m individual medleys. Victoria Mock finished 14thin the women’s event in 4:58.36. On the men’s side, Calgary’s Tristan Cote set a Varsity Pool record in 4:10.97 to earn gold, while Zakala won silver in 4:11.79. In the B Final, Zachary Dumas finished 14th(4:25.90) and Ethan Phillips in 15th (4:25.90).
“Josh had a lifetime best in his 400 IM race and with a little more space he could have run down Tristan Cote but he set a Vikes record and had an exceptional day,” added Vizsolyi on Zakala. “The other boys in the B Final swam best times in the morning to make that B Final so it was tough for them at night. Ivf you can go best times in the night times on the first day that already sets you up a bit better but those were really exceptional swims for those guys.”
In the 4×100-m relay the Vikes women finished ninth in a Vikes record time of 3:52.14. Hanus alongside Kara Wilson, Taylor Snowden-Richardson and Gervais cashed in on valuable points to leave the Vikes women in fifth overall in team standings, while the UBC Thunderbirds are currently in the lead.
The Vikes men of Mallender, Hedlin, Zakala and Espersen, also finished ninth overall in the 4×100-m relay and also setting a Vikes relay record in 3:24.94 to leave the Vikes men in sixth overall in the team standings. The UBC men lead the team standings with 323 points, while Calgary are in second with 285 points.
Day 2 action of the U SPORTS Swimming Championship continues tomorrow, Feb. 22, at 7:00 a.m. for preliminaries and 3:00 p.m. for finals. These sessions will feature the 100 backstroke, 50- and 200-m butterfly, 400- and 50- freestyle and the 4×200-m freestyle relay. Watch the finals on live pay-per-view webcast at usports.live.
Day 1 – UVIC Results
W 50m Backstroke – Danielle Hanus (SILVER – 26.85)*
W 4×100-m Freestyle Relay – Danielle Hanus, Kara Wilson, Taylor Snowden-Richardson, Kaitlin Gervais (9th – 3:52.14)*
M 4×100-m Freestyle Relay – Buzz Mallender, Eric Hedlin, Josh Zakala, Bailey Espersen (9th – 3:24.94)*
*indicates Vikes Record